Grimmauld Place — November, 1984
“Harry, we say please when we’d like something.”
Harry patently ignored Remus’ gentle admonishment and continued his attempt at summiting the mountain that was their kitchen counter. His breathing was only getting heavier as he tried a new way of pulling himself atop the surface, and after a misstep onto their slippery kitchen rug, Remus swooped in to catch him moments before he hit the floor.
“Alright, no more of this.”
“It’s not fair,” Harry whined. “If Padfoot got a cookie, I want a cookie.”
Remus sighed. Sirius had insisted—over the numerous well-reasoned arguments in opposition of the idea that Remus had presented—that they should maintain a fully stocked cookie jar on the counter to teach Harry about asking politely for things he wanted. As Remus had eventually found out, Euphemia Potter had kept one when he’d lived with James, and Sirius had managed to look a tad too emotionally vulnerable when he’d finally said as much for Remus to then tell him no.
Except Harry was James and Lily’s kid, and for all of the politeness that James had been brought up with, Lily Evans had a stubborn streak a kilometre wide, which Harry had apparently inherited. Although, given the pinched look on Harry’s face, there might have been something else at play.
“Why do you want a cookie right now?” Remus asked carefully, hoisting Harry onto his hip and biting his lip to keep from smiling as Harry stuck his thumb in his mouth and shook his head in frustration. Remus squeezed Harry’s side gently, waiting for a giggle or a ticklish reaction, but Harry resisted. “Haz, why did you want a cookie?”
“Padfoot had one,” Harry said plainly, as if that was an obvious explanation for the visit to St. Mungo’s that had been narrowly avoided by Remus catching him as he fell.
Remus bounced Harry once against his side as he toed closed the cabinets. “Pads is a grownup though, kiddo. You still have to ask.”
“I don’t wanna ask!” Harry cried out before tossing his head against Remus’ shoulder. “I want a cookie and I want Padfoot to come back.”
Remus tried to hide his wince, but he wasn’t sure if Harry would’ve noticed it even if he’d done so successfully. Harry appeared to be one unsatisfactory answer away from a tantrum, and he certainly didn’t seem anywhere near ready to be put down for a nap.
“Padfoot has to work, baby. We talked about this.”
Harry was quiet for a moment, head still resting against Remus’ shoulder as he dropped his voice to one that was far smaller and sadder than it should’ve been.
“Will he come back?”
The exhaled ‘oh Harry’ that escaped Remus was entirely involuntary, and he hugged Harry closer to him.
“He will , he’ll just be gone for the rest of the day. That’s why he left you with me, so we could play games and watch films while he was gone.”
“But what if—he won’t be like—” Harry hesitated, and Remus looked over to see that his face was very serious, focused on something Remus couldn’t have identified if he tried. “Mum and Dad were gone for a bit and then forever.”
Three years on, and Remus still didn’t know how to react to that sort of comment. He and Sirius had done their best to explain what had happened to Harry in terms that weren’t too upsetting— your mum and dad loved you very much; a very bad man took them away but they asked us to take care of you before they left; no, Haz, they won’t be coming back.
They’d had the conversation more than once, each one resulting in a slightly different reaction from Harry, each of which ate at Remus’ heart like acid. No child should have to learn of their parents’ murder at such a young age, and he’d yet to find a way to handle those conversations like the adult that he’d claimed to be when they’d all left school. More often than not, those nights were humid; all whiskey and wet faces once he and Sirius climbed into bed; frantically pressed kisses to Sirius’ forehead before establishing a firm grip on his arm as they fell asleep.
Harry dropped his head against Remus’ shoulder with a quiet huff.
“It’s scary when you leave,” he mumbled, and Remus hiked his godson’s legs higher up onto his hip before pressing a kiss to his temple.
“I know it is, Harry. It is for me too,” Remus said gently, and Harry turned his head slowly around to try and see his godfather’s face.
“You get scared?” he asked, eyes wide with surprise as Remus shut the lights off in their kitchen and walked into the main hallway of the house. Remus squeezed Harry a little tighter before answering.
“All the time,” he said slowly, trying to figure out if there was a way he could bring this conversation towards a calmer Harry, one who didn’t look like he was on the verge of crying.
“I worry about you when you go to school, I worry about Sirius when he goes to work. I worry about your friends Neville and Ron and their families—there are lots of things to worry about.”
Harry nodded solemnly, his eyes still wide, and Remus leaned in as if telling a secret.
“You know what I do when I’m worried, though?”
Harry shook his head and Remus couldn’t help but smile at how very young and innocent he looked.
“I go to see the trains—do you remember those?”
Harry tilted his head. “Like the one around the Christmas tree?” he asked quietly, and Remus chuckled.
“Just like that one, Haz, but bigger. You can ride in them to go places like Scotland and France.”
Harry’s eyes lost some of their sadness, awe replacing fear as Remus talked of going to other places. He hugged Remus’ neck tighter and attempted to whisper his question, although it came out as more of a hoarse shout.
“Can we go see them?”
Remus chuckled and glanced at his watch before looking back to Harry.
“I think we could, if you promise not to tell Padfoot that we went on an adventure without him,” he said, and Harry’s eyes widened further as he nodded eagerly. Within minutes, the two were bundled up and walking towards King’s Cross, a blustery wind pushing Harry’s hair up off his forehead and making him tuck his face into the hem of Remus’ jacket.
“Where are they?” Harry asked eagerly as the two walked into the station. “Are they big?”
Remus chuckled, glancing up at a timetable to note which platforms had imminent arrivals and departures before adjusting Harry’s hand in his.
“They are,” he said, “and they’ve each got a different colour. I bet we can find a red one just for you,” he finished conspiratorially, and watched as Harry’s eyes grew wide.
“Do they make the same noises as our Christmas train, Moony?”
“Which noise would that be, love?” Remus asked, despite knowing full well what Harry was getting at.
“The toot-toot noises! The ones that mean the train is moving!”
Remus chuckled. “I think they will if you ask them, but you’ll have to be very polite,” he said quietly. “Do you think you can be very polite?”
Harry nodded enthusiastically and tugged on Remus’ hand.
“Can we go through that door?” he asked, pointing towards an entrance with stained-glass trains above it.
“I suppose we can do that,” Remus said with a wink, “but I think you should have a very special ride over there, don’t you?”
Harry cocked his head in confusion as Remus knelt down beside him.
“Do you remember how to get onto my shoulders, little one?” Remus asked softly, and Harry screwed his face up in concentration before shaking his head, a small pout tilting the corners of his mouth down.
“That’s alright, I’ll help you get up,” Remus said gently, releasing Harry’s hand and turning around so his back was facing his godson before crouching down even further. He reached a hand over his shoulder and patted his upper back once.
“Climb up there,” he said, chuckling softly at the feeling of little hands on his jacket as Harry attempted to get all the way up.
“Your feet go right here…” he trailed off, tugging Harry’s tiny trainers over his shoulders until they hung on opposite sides of his face. “…and I’ll hold your hands,” he continued, reaching up for Harry’s palms and breathing out a sigh of relief when he felt small fingers wrapping around his.
Taking a deep breath, Remus pushed himself up to a standing position, pulling Harry’s hands gently forward to keep him stable as he did so. Once he was certain that Harry was leaning forward enough, Remus let go of his hands and grabbed his ankles instead, chuckling at Harry’s delighted giggles.
“Hands on Moony’s head now, yeah?” he said gently, waiting for Harry’s hands to rest atop his head before walking towards the door. The morning rush had already passed, so there were fewer passengers around than there normally would be, and Remus brought Harry up close to a train that was currently parked at the gate.
“This one’s a Bubble Car, Haz,” Remus said as he put a hand on the side of the traincar. “Do you want to touch it?”
Feeling the nod of his godson’s chin against his head, Remus reached a hand up to grab Harry’s and placed it carefully on the side of the train. Harry let out a quiet squeal of amusement and Remus squeezed his ankle gently before pulling away.
“I wanna see that one!” Harry shrieked as they moved towards the other platforms, “it’s red and shiny!”
Remus navigated them through the crowd before glancing up at the timetable and letting an idea bloom in his mind.
“How would you feel about riding in one, Harry?” he said softly, tugging Harry’s free hand once to get his attention.
“We can ride in them?” Harry asked delightedly, feet kicking against Remus’ collarbones in excitement. “Moony can we?”
Remus chuckled and knelt down again, helping Harry off of his shoulders and grabbing his hand. “Let’s go talk to the ticket-seller, shall we?”
Ten minutes later saw the two of them on the train, which Remus had discovered was headed up to Newcastle as he’d purchased their tickets. Harry had been buzzing with excitement once they’d boarded, and Remus had quietly reminded him that they needed to continue being polite to the fellow passengers as they settled into their seats. Once they began moving however, Harry fell silent, his eyes tracking the skyline as the lush green of the countryside burst through the urban architecture. Remus kept a hand around his waist as he stood looking out the window, tightening it to keep him steady as the train went over bumps and chuckling at the look of awe painted on Harry’s face.
The novelty didn’t wear off as he watched his godson, eyes widening at the glimpses of farms and villages speeding by, but after thirty minutes had passed, Remus caught a yawn, then another, and then his eyes drooping shut as he leaned against the window.
“C’mere, little one,” he said quietly, pulling Harry against his chest as the train pulled into the next stop. “You want to take a nap?”
Harry nodded tiredly against his chest and repositioned himself against Remus’ shoulder, head tucked into Remus’ neck as he let out a quiet hum.
“Get cosy, you,” he murmured into Harry’s curls, pressing a kiss against the side of his head and letting out a sigh of relief that he’d managed to calm his godson somewhat. “We’ll see Pads in a little bit, won’t we?”
Grimmauld Place —October, 1989
“Prongslet, are you sure this is what you want?” Sirius asked, staring at the striped fabric in his hands with some hesitation. “You’re not hurting for options, you could go as a superhero or an auror or—”
“But I don’t want to be a superhero,” Harry whined, shaking his head gravely, like he was offended by the very suggestion. “I want to be an engineer.”
Remus let out a quiet snort from behind the newspaper that he was reading, but Sirius ignored it in favour of appraising Harry, who was being unusually stubborn about his choice in Halloween costumes.
“Harry,” he began, “is there a reason that you want to be an engineer again? You’ve gone as one for the last four years, are you sure you don’t want to try something new?”
Harry shook his head quickly—a bit too quickly, in Sirius’ opinion—and his cheeks pinked as he reached in his pocket and pulled something out, tucking it into his hand so Sirius couldn’t see.
“Harry,” he said sternly, holding out a palm for Harry to drop the item into. Harry took a few steps forward but paused as his hand hovered over Sirius’, looking away and mumbling something that Sirius couldn’t hear.
“What was that, love?”
“Please don’t take it?” Harry repeated, his voice a little louder as his hand tightened around the object. “Moony gave it to me, it’s special.”
Sirius exchanged a glance with his husband, who shrugged in bewilderment and angled his head back towards Harry.
“I won’t take it, kiddo,” Sirius said quietly, tugging Harry closer to him and pressing a kiss to his cheek. “I promise.”
Harry’s eyes darted between Sirius and Remus, but he dropped the object into Sirius’ hand carefully—it was a small, silver looking thing that Sirius couldn’t place, even after a moment of studying it.
“It’s a whistle,” he said quietly, “for my costume.”
Sirius’ heart swelled at Harry’s shyness, and he handed the whistle back over gently. It had been almost five years since Remus had taken their son to the train station for the first time, and Harry hadn’t been able to stop talking about them since.
Trains for his bedroom, trains for the Christmas tree, trains for his books, trains for his halloween costumes. Sirius felt lucky that Remus enjoyed the things enough to indulge Harry’s whims when his own answers of “that’s a brown one, Haz” or “the Northern Line?” had fallen short over the years. They’d bonded over it, which Sirius was grateful for; he’d known Remus had been nervous about raising Harry, terrified that he’d somehow manage to scare him away with his condition. He’d never considered that Harry could pick up his own habits, could take an interest in the same things that he had. Sirius couldn’t take that away from either of them, and he wouldn’t have done it for the world, but that didn’t mean he wanted Harry to think there weren’t other options if he wanted them.
But he didn’t seem to want other options, so Sirius pressed another kiss to the top of his head and ruffled his hair before releasing him to.
“When did he get you that whistle?”
Harry’s cheeks pinked again, and he mumbled something into his shirt.
“Haz, you’re going to need to speak up,” Sirius said gently. The question was innocent enough, he couldn’t fathom why Harry would possibly be nervous about it.
“He got it for me for my birthday,” he said, scuffing the toe of his shoe against the floor as he spoke. “Said it was a gift from the stationmaster.”
“Is that so?” Sirius said quietly. “Sounds like it’s very special.”
Harry nodded a few times, turning the whistle over in his palm as he stared at it with a level of focused attention normally reserved for cake, or a plate of his favourite sultana cookies—another preference of Remus’ that Harry had adopted over the past few years.
“It’s my most prized possession,” he said solemnly, replacing it into his pocket with a reverence that made Sirius’ heart melt.
“Is that why you want to be an engineer this year, then? Because Moony got you a special whistle?”
Harry shook his head fiercely. “No, I want to be an engineer because I love trains, Padfoot,” he said, as if Sirius shouldn’t have dared to guess otherwise. “They’re so big and fun and they got a new type at the station that Moony and I saw this summer! It’s red and shiny and—”
“Slow down there, kiddo,” Sirius said with a chuckle of amusement, “I’ll never doubt how much you love trains again.”
He ruffled Harry’s hair gently before tucking the striped fabric back under his arm.
“I’ll see what I can do about adjusting the hems on this to fit you, shall I?” he said conspiratorially, and Harry’s face lit up.
“Would you really? I’d be so excited to wear it again,” Harry said eagerly, “I think I’d cry.”
“Perhaps you could save the crying for when it rips again, hm?” Remus said from the table behind them. “Don’t want to make Padfoot upset, do you?”
Harry sobered instantly, eyes blown wide as they fixed on Sirius. Before Sirius could assure him that whatever reaction he had would be fine, Harry was off and running again—his mouth moving a kilometre a minute as he hastened to reassure Sirius that he was grateful.
“I’d never be upset,” Harry said quickly, “I love your costumes and I love trains and I love when you make little patches for the sleeves and the way you made a hat two years ago so I could look like a real engineer and I love the—”
“Haz. Harry. Harry.” Sirius interrupted, tugging Harry’s wrist until he was standing beside him.
“I know you do, and I love how much you love them,” he said, bumping Harry’s shoulder gently until his godson looked over at him.
“I’ll get started on these tonight, hm?”
Harry nodded once, slowly.
“And how about you start getting ready for bed? Remus and I will be up in a little while for the next chapter of—which one are we on now, Moons?”
“The Horse and His Boy,” Remus replied without looking up.
“The Horse and His Boy,” Sirius finished with a smile. “We’re almost finished, aren’t we?”
“Only a few chapters left, I think,” Harry said quietly. “Shasta’s still roaming Narnia, and he needs to get back to his rider.”
“Well maybe he’ll do that tonight, little one. All depends on how quickly you get ready, I’d say.”
Harry’s eyes widened and he scrambled out of Sirius’ grip and up the stairs to his bedroom, leaving two chuckling parents in his wake.
“I can’t believe you thought he was going to change his mind,” Remus said with a snort once he heard the quiet slam of Harry’s door as he began getting ready. “You two have gone through this song and dance before and he never wavers.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Fucking Evans, I was hoping he’d inherited James’ willingness to please.”
“You think he didn’t?” Remus said, dropping his newspaper and sending Sirius an incredulous look. “I’m half convinced that sometimes, when we go to the train station, it’s for my benefit, although how Harry’s managed to figure that out is beyond me.”
Sirius chuckled quietly and stood, dropping a kiss to Remus’ temple as he grabbed their empty glasses and brought them to the sink.
“It’s not like he didn’t learn that from you,” he hummed, “do you remember how many times we went to watch Quidditch practices when I was kicked off the team because you ‘wanted to do more research’ about how the positions worked?”
Remus’ cheeks pinked. “That was the truth, I didn’t have a clue how the points worked.”
“Sure, but you didn’t exactly care about knowing, did you?”
“I cared about knowing when you were on the team,” Remus muttered before shaking out his newspaper and bringing it back up to hide his face.
“And I loved you for it,” Sirius retorted, returning to the table with a smirk as he sat across from his husband. “I’m just saying, Harry didn’t just get that from James.”
Remus didn’t look up, but Sirius caught a flash of pink atop his ears before he readjusted the paper and smiled to himself.
“Is it my turn to be the stationmaster again this year, then?” he asked. There was a right answer— No, Sirius, it’s never your job to be the Stationmaster again, not after last year —but Sirius was curious to see whether Remus’ reaction had tempered somewhat with time.
“Absolutely not,” Remus growled. “Every time Harry and I visit King’s Cross all I can think about is the Stationmasters there wearing what you had on under your costume and…” he trailed off, shuddering.
“Not a mental image I needed, you ass.”
Sirius’ laughter burst forth unbidden, and Remus shot him a curious look.
“That wasn’t meant as a joke,” he said with a glare, but Sirius only laughed harder, tears collecting at the corners of his eyes as he continued.
“I just—your face when—you can’t tell me it wasn’t priceless, Moony,” he gasped out between laughs, and Remus rolled his eyes.
“Go read our son his bedtime story, will you? He could do with a whole lot more Narnia and a whole lot less of his godfather trying to sexualize one of his dream jobs.”
“But Moony,” Sirius whined, his voice seductively low as he approached Remus from around the side of the table, “what are you going to do if you miss the train? You’ll have to find some other sort of ride, won’t you?”
“Storytime, Sirius,” Remus shot back, but his face was unnaturally flushed even as he uttered his protest.
“Harry’s waiting?” he tried again, prompting Sirius to whirl around and double check that his son wasn’t standing in the doorway. For all of his willingness to push Remus’ buttons, Harry was still far too young for Sirius to need to explain the mechanics of why he and Remus were looking at each other the way that they currently were.
“You’re lucky I love him as much as I do, otherwise I’d keep subjecting you to bad train innuendos until you finally broke on me.”
“Clearly,” Remus said, tone dry, “and you’re lucky our son has more patience than either of us combined.”
Sirius nodded in agreement and gathered up his things before heading in the direction of Harry’s room, but paused when he heard Remus call out to him at the entrance to the hallway.
“Oh, and Sirius?”
“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about me—I heard the married ones ride for free,” Remus said with a wink, and Sirius bit his tongue to keep from laughing. He should’ve known better, really.
King’s Cross — September, 1991
Harry was practically buzzing with excitement when the three of them arrived at the train station, and if Remus didn’t know better, he’d say his son was more excited about the prospect of spending hours on a train than he was about starting classes. The duration of the journey thus far had been spent with Harry urging Remus to drive faster as Sirius urged their son to calm down and reviewed his packing list one last time to ensure he’d remembered everything he needed.
By the time he stepped out of the vehicle, Harry was ready to go, bouncing his knee in eager anticipation of entering his favourite building, of stopping by to see their friend Frank, the Stationmaster for the Northern Lines who’d familiarised himself with Harry and Remus somewhere around year five of their routine. It took Harry three gentle prompts from Sirius to get his attention and turn towards the trunk that his godparents were manoeuvring out of the car boot, and Remus chuckled at the thinly veiled expression of glee that he saw on his son’s face.
He was going to be alright, Remus was sure of it, but he couldn’t help but worry; couldn’t help but think that someone was going to take advantage of his innocence, or make fun of him for his interests, or not understand all of the ways that he was lovely and precious and theirs. Him and Sirius and James and Lily, tossed into a mixing bowl and blended on high until fully combined.
Harry’s enthusiasm managed to assuage some of Remus’ fear, but not all of it, and as the three of them made their way through the station and down to Platform 9¾, he took a deep breath to steady himself before walking through the brick divider and emerging beside the Hogwarts Express.
Harry followed shortly thereafter, eyes wide with delight at the sight of the actual Hogwarts train for the first time, gaze darting from the wheels to the cars to the engine room up front as Sirius and Remus looked on in amusement.
A commotion came from behind them and Remus saw the Weasleys arrive, so he hastened to pull Harry aside before he went to meet his friends.
“Haz, you remember what Pads and I told you?”
Harry nodded, a motion so rapid that Remus felt his own neck ache at the sight of it.
“Don’t get into trouble, but if I do, always make sure to make McGonagall proud.”
Remus felt his eyebrows furrow before he registered Sirius’ stifled laughter from beside him.
“That’s certainly what one of us told you, kiddo, but it’s not what both of us did,” Sirius bit out between chuckles, and Remus elbowed him discreetly.
Harry’s cheeks pinked at the realisation of what he’d done and he hastily backtracked.
“Stay out of trouble and try my best?” he offered, a bit more hesitantly this time, but his face brightened as Remus shot a glare in Sirius’ direction.
“That’s the one.”
“I promise I will!” Harry said quickly. “And I’ll write you every other day and I’ll tell you all about how the Quidditch matches look in person and whether my classes are boring and—”
“You don’t have to write that often, Harry,” Remus said gently, “just do it when you feel like it, alright? You’ll have better things to do with your time than write letters to two old men,” he said jokingly, but even as he did, a pang shot through his chest.
They might not be old in a literal sense, but he and Sirius had officially reached the beginnings of empty-nesting, and he didn’t feel emotionally equipped to let go of the idea that his son was always right there; just out of reach on the sofa, just upstairs in his bedroom. Remus was more worried about the two of them than he was for Harry, realistically.
As if he’d sensed Remus’ misgivings about sending him off to school, Harry approached slowly and offered each of them a hug.
“You promise you’ll still love me if I’m not in Gryffindor?” he asked shyly, and Remus kissed the top of his head in response.
“I’d love you if they expelled you the moment you sat on that stool,” Sirius said quickly, “where you end up couldn’t matter less.”
Harry relaxed beneath Remus’ arms and turned his head to face Sirius.
“Even if I’m in Slytherin?”
“Even if you’re in Slytherin,” Sirius chuckled, “although their robes might clash with your eyes, kiddo.”
Harry pulled a face, rolling his eyes at Sirius before turning back to face Remus.
“I’m going to miss going to see the trains with you, Moony,” he said quietly, and Remus’ heart shattered into pieces all over again at the earnestness in his son’s voice.
“I’d miss having you there too much to go by myself, love,” Remus murmured, giving Harry’s arms a gentle squeeze. “You’re my favourite person to go see them with, but don’t tell Sirius.”
Harry sniffled once but chuckled at Remus’ conspiratorial tone.
“He’s right there, he’s going to hear you,” Harry argued weakly, but Remus moved his hands to a spot where he knew Harry was sensitive and paused.
“Not if you don’t tell him,” he whispered, giving Harry a gentle tickle and smiling as his son attempted to squirm away.
“Okay okay, I won’t!” Harry protested between giggles, causing Sirius to grin and swoop him into a hug of his own as the platform bell rang once to signify ten minutes before the train would leave. The two had a quiet conversation as Remus watched, his eyes scanning the area for any of Harry’s friends and their parents as he turned to give them some privacy.
The Weasleys were easy enough to find, Fred and George talking circles around their mother as she fussed over Ron’s outfit and brushed invisible dirt off of the shoulders. Within a few minutes, Augusta Longbottom came through the barrier with her grandson in tow, carrying something small between his hands that if Remus had to guess, he’d say was either a frog or a mouse. The two families merged, quiet discussion of their boys’ imminent first year passing between them as they waited for the all clear to board the train. Arthur caught Remus’ eye and waved in his direction, before glancing over at Sirius and Harry, locked in a fierce embrace and not looking as if they were going to move anytime soon, and nodding in understanding.
Sirius was releasing Harry when Remus turned back to face them, holding their son by his shoulders with an oddly soft expression on his face, and Remus wrapped an arm around his waist and pressed a kiss to his shoulder.
“The train’s going to start boarding soon,” he murmured, and Sirius’ hands moved from Harry’s shoulders to his cheeks as he pulled him for one last kiss to his temple.
“Moony and I are very proud of you, Haz,” he said softly, his voice taking on a slightly-rasped quality as he tried to contain his emotions. “And we’re excited to hear about everything you do this year.”
Harry nodded in response and Sirius released him carefully, giving his son a lengthy stare as he gathered his book bag and shoved his glasses up his nose one last time. He offered one last smile in their direction before heading off to join Ron and Neville, who greeted him with a familiar hair ruffle and a nervous looking grimace that might’ve been a smile, respectively.
Sirius leaned into Remus’ side as they watched the three boys interact, falling into the roles that they’d developed over the past nine years with ease as they shoved each other gently and swapped stories about their summers. A memory of James telling them all that he’d been forbidden from playing Quidditch after an incident involving garden gnomes and the Potter family cat swam to the front of Remus’ mind, and he chuckled at the sight of Ron energetically waving his hands as he detailed one of the stories Fred and George had told him about Hogwarts.
“He’s going to be fine, isn’t he?” Sirius whispered, his shoulder bumping into Remus’ as he spoke.
Remus didn’t respond at first, a subtle smile creeping onto his face as a bushy-haired girl approached Harry, Ron, and Neville with a confidence that brought him back a decade to his own introduction to Lily Evans. Introductions were swapped all around before the girl—Hermione, Remus thought he’d heard her say—let out an excited outburst.
“Oh! I’ve read about you in Hogwarts: A History !”
He and Sirius had tried to shield Harry from the prying eye of the Wizarding World’s tabloids as much as possible, given everything that had happened, but some things had been unavoidable. Their son was a part of history, he couldn’t dodge it forever; he and Sirius each knew that much. But Remus was still uncertain about how Harry would react to a comment like that. Most students barely touched that textbook until their third year; Hermione must’ve been the only first year besides Harry who’d read it from cover to cover—and Harry had read it for one reason, and one reason only.
He needn’t have worried, however, as Harry’s face lit up at the prospect of having found someone else who’d read up on the massive history of the castle and he leaned forward eagerly.
“Did you read about the train?” he asked, gesturing towards the now-awakening Hogwarts Express so haphazardly that Neville ducked to avoid being hit. Harry continued excitedly, hardly noticing the shared look of exasperation that Ron and Neville exchanged.
“A hybrid coal-and steam engine spelled to magically heap fuels into its engine every time it hits a switch in the tracks—it’s one of a kind!”
Remus chuckled, the motion causing Sirius to look at him in confusion.
“He’ll be just fine, Pads. He’s our son, isn’t he?”
Heathrow Airport— March, 1999
“If you refuse to at least attempt to be discreet, we’ll leave right now, Sirius—vacation be damned, I swear it.”
Sirius didn’t respond, eyes tracking a 747 accelerating on the runway with rapt attention as his husband spoke. Remus rolled his eyes. He should’ve known better, should’ve guessed that Sirius would be awestruck by the marvels of muggle engineering. Harry couldn’t possibly have gotten his love for machines from solely him, it was clearly a two-man endeavour.
At least Sirius wasn’t loudly decrying the benefits of Wizarding portraits to the parents of Harry’s friends, the way he’d done when Harry was still too young for Hogwarts. Remus still shuddered as he remembered the sort of paperwork they’d been forced to fill out with the Ministry after that incident. He glanced back at his husband and elbowed him gently.
“Our gate is this way,” he reminded Sirius, tugging their suitcases down the corridor towards the grey seats and hoping that his husband would follow. He situated them by a window, at least, in an attempt to give Sirius an outlet for his curiosity, but Sirius didn’t settle beside him as he’d expected.
Turning around in his seat, he saw his husband staring at a display to the side of their gate, a glass-enclosed chamber of artefacts relating to the history of aircraft in the area. Shaking his head in amusement, Remus quietly asked the elderly woman in the seat across from him to watch their bags as he stood and approached Sirius.
“Found something good to read, I take it?”
Sirius didn’t turn around, instead nodding at the placard on the uppermost shelf.
“Did you know that the first ones were American? I assumed…” he broke off, chuckling. “I don’t know what I assumed.”
“That they were magic?”
Sirius’ expression didn’t change much at Remus’ quip; if anything, the furrow of his brows deepened as he considered Remus’ words.
“The amount of focused energy that you’d need to put behind a levitation charm to make it strong enough to hold up an aeroplane…” he paused. “How heavy are aeroplanes?”
Remus snorted. “I haven’t exactly made a habit of learning about the mechanics of them, you know. I could probably give you a rudimentary understanding of how they work from a physics perspective, but I was never the biggest fan of flying.”
“That explains a lot,” Sirius muttered, and Remus nudged his shoulder to prompt more detail.
“You never were interested in going on a date atop the quidditch pitches back in school.”
“I didn’t want to have to climb eight stories to kiss you, my apologies for not committing deeply enough to our relationship at fifteen years old.”
“I’d offered to fly you up on my broom!” Sirius protested, but even as he did, Remus shuddered. The offer to fly unnerved him as much now as it had then—Remus had always felt that his person should stay squarely on the ground at all times; that hadn’t changed in the twenty-odd years since he and Sirius had started seeing each other. The only reason he’d tolerated this flight was Harry’s insistence that the two of them take a vacation while he finished up the last month of his teaching program at Beauxbatons. Something something ‘you two deserve it,’ something something ‘Cedric wrote to me about his favourite restaurants,’ something something ‘Pads, I don’t think Moony’s been on a vacation since 1964.’ Sirius was putty in the hands of his son’s requests, which is how Remus found himself standing here, attempting to chase his own anxiety sideways by distracting himself with Sirius’ curiosity.
“What else have you learned, then?” Remus asked, “I expect a fair bit, I’ve been waiting at the gate for you for nearly five minutes.”
Sirius shook his head. “I’m still trying to work through the arithmancy of keeping a plane afloat with magic. Do you know how powerful someone would have to be to sustain that sort of spell on an object with people inside of it? And make it move?”
“That’s not how this works, Pads, we’ve been over this.”
“I know , you said that already,” Sirius said, shooting Remus an exasperated look before continuing. “But what if someone tried it?”
“You won’t be trying that today,” Remus said shortly. “I haven’t spent much time thinking about it, particularly because our plane is about to board, but under no circumstances are you allowed to even consider using magic on this flight.”
“I won’t,” Sirius reassured him, “I’m just—they’re fascinating, you know? Is this what you and Harry feel like about trains?”
“Merlin help me,” Remus murmured under his breath. “If you like planes half as much as Harry loves trains, I may never forgive you. This might be the final straw of our relationship, I’ll start drawing up the divorce papers once we return.”
“Amusing to think that you’d be able to get rid of me that easily,” Sirius said, a rakish grin gracing his features before he grabbed Remus’ hand and pressed a kiss to it. “How are you feeling about the flight?”
“Been better, been worse. Trying not to think too hard about it, if I’m honest.”
Sirius squeezed his hand once and pointed at the artwork behind the artefacts; it was multicoloured and chaotic, and as Sirius spoke, Remus realised it had all been created by local schoolchildren.
“I think that one’s my favourite,” he said, gesturing at a photo in the back that seemed to feature four vaguely phallic shapes in a row. “Looks like the buildings they’ve been erecting all over London, don’t you think?
“You’re twelve years old,” Remus said, rolling his eyes at his husband’s abnormal emphasis as he shook his head. “Absolutely juvenile.”
“But you love it,” Sirius said with another kiss to the back of Remus’ hand, “and look—the flight’s ready to board, no need to keep tying your stomach up in knots while you wait.”
Remus shivered. “Right, now I just have to ride on the plane.”
“Exactly.” Sirius said with a smile. “And I love you enough to swear that I won’t mention how brilliant I think this ride is going to be more than once. Right now. Not a word more from here on out.”
“No need to curb your enthusiasm on my behalf,” Remus said with a nervous chuckle, “I’ll just drown you out with the alarm bells going off in my head from takeoff until touchdown.”
Sirius grinned. “Don’t say that, otherwise I’ll end up whispering all of the things I’m amazed by to you for the whole flight. Muggle contraptions, Moony! They’re magical!”
Remus rolled his eyes in disbelief as they began walking back towards the gate, where their baggage was still being looked after.
“I can’t believe I’ve enabled two of you.”
“And we’re both better off for it,” Sirius grinned. “We’re both better off for it.”